That Perfect Combination
Organizing a polo tournament is always masses of work. Teams, sponsors, temporary stabling, field, caterers, all need to be sorted, so I was often given some of the extra tasks to tend to. That's how I met Eugenie (Giny) Hinrichs. Her brother had told her about a field near his house where a small group of riders, in mud-splattered jeans, zoomed around hitting a ball, "Might be something for you to check out", he had said. It was, of course, our polo club @poloclublandsberg. Without hesitation, Giny mailed the club asking if we would be interested in having her display her silver and horsehair @silver&horsehair jewellery at our tournaments. I suggested she come out to the club to get a feel for the place and players. Our Autumn tournament could be a good opportunity for horse-lovers to sort out their Christmas presents, I felt. She came. Everything Giny touches is special and she displayed her work for me in an exquisite velvet-lined antique box. Delicately thin bracelets of plated horsehair next to wider, chunkier armbands, silver clasps and tiny charms, opaque moonstones, jaunty tassles- a treasure trove.I loved it all and immediately put in an order for a bracelet to be made with the hair from my favourite pony's tail. This gave me the opportunity to visit Giny and get to know her better.
Driving out to her property in Allgäu was a mini road trip through sleepy villages and dark forests. High shrubs and trees surrounded her charming, enclosed universe. Giny obviously doesn't believe in manicured lawns, and long grass, peppered with wild flowers, grew up and under rose bushes heavy with scented blooms. Enchanting. The house is an old mill comprised of basically two rooms, one above the other. We went upstairs to a huge room - wide wooden floor, light streaming in full tilt through deep windows, a long scrubbed wood table scattered with beads, clasps, thread, tools. A tiny cluttered kitchen corner and two large cats, indolently enthroned on the sofa at the far end of the room. Sipping tea from luminous green-glazed cups, Giny told me something of her life and work.
Training and Inspiration
The jewellery class at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich is well-known and Giny attended this for 6 years in the late 1980s, completing her Diploma in 1990. During this time she also set up a studio, sharing space with other colleagues and establishing a reputation, putting on exhibitions at least once a year. Her specialty was, and still is, unique, contemporary designed pieces and apart from working in her studio/sitting room under the strict eye of her cats, she was always keen to work with others. This led to establishing, in 2015, a studio boutique in Munich with other craftswomen: Augeundhand.
The Silver and Horsehair Collection came about when a friend in Dubai showed her what had been made from the tail hair of her much loved horse. Giny is a keen horsewoman, having ridden since childhood, and the idea of combining her passion for horses with her profession seemed perfect. With her training and talent she felt she could improve on the designs she saw, and was enthusiastic about developing the collection parallel to her contemporary jewellery. Creating exotic combinations with horsehair, silver, precious stones and pearls, she was also able to incorporate her extensive collection of charms from all over the world. These charms provide her with an exciting source of inspiration for new designs.
It was perfect autumn weather when Giny brought her tiny jewellery stand out to our tournament. A bright yellow sun-umbrella marked her spot. She set up examples of her work alongside an antique stool of her mother's, upholstered in rare cloth made form woven horsehair- the most durable of materials. She laughs when she remembers that first time. I was doing the commentary and she maintains I bullied all the players and friends into checking out her work. It paid off, I feel, as Giny's work is now well known and is being worn or used all over Europe. Social media combined with word of mouth has led to a good number of orders, her key-rings, armbands, necklaces all unique and providing the owner with a permanent reminder of a favourite pony. She has also displayed her work at various horse events over the last pre-covid years.
I asked Giny what she thought of polo. Her impression of our tournaments was very positive, she says....attractive little stands providing refreshments, friendly atmosphere and a dynamic game. "If you don't know polo, you should take the time to check it out. A super sport" she says. Asking if she'd like to try it since she still has one of her daughters' ponies, she smiles and shakes her head. "No, he's 26 so I'll just stick to leading him out on my bike. In fact I should use this break in the rain to go and do that now!"
Thank you Giny. Always lovely to visit with you.